Passive Housing New Zealand

Posted August 6, 2020

The building standard of the future

Firstly, what is it? Passive Housing is a voluntary standard of building homes (or structures) that are energy efficient and optimised for their local climate. Passive Houses are so energy efficient that they use the equivalent power for heating/cooling that you would to run your fridge! That’s between 75-90% less energy than a conventional house.

Even in houses built within the past few years you’ll typically find mould at the edges of carpet due to dampness and heat loss. Modern houses are unsustainable, and with building standards like Passive Housing available to us it makes sense to reevaluate the way we build. Energy efficiency makes an impact on both the individual level and a global scale. With the effects of climate change baring its teeth, it’s time to say goodbye to powering homes with fossil fuels.

What goes into making a house passive?

Passive Houses are designed specifically for the climate they’re being built in. A home in Auckland won’t require the same optimisation as a home in Queenstown. Many factors go into passive housing such as:

  • Optimising house orientation and shading
  • Thermal envelope consideration
  • Airtightness of windows and doors
  • Ventilation
  • Optimised heating and hot water
  • Insulation and avoiding thermal bridges.

Passive Houses are not dependent on solar gains to achieve the desired energy efficiency and comfort, however they benefit from optimising sun paths and shading. Any possible positive contributions should be taken advantage of while taking the risk of overheating your home into consideration. It’s also important to take into consideration your thermal envelope. This means looking at how large your home is and the way it’s set out. The more junctions you have, the more difficulty you’ll have keeping heat in and costs down.

Optimised windows and doors are one of the most important aspects of Passive Housing as they ensure airtightness. Airtightness is essential towards attaining Passive House certification, however it also indicates construction quality. While these factors are basic, they have to be designed carefully in a way that they interact harmoniously and complement one another. Passive Home windows can be opened or closed whenever you wish without compromising air quality. Ventilation also plays a huge role in Passive Homes’ pristine air quality. Mechanical ventilation is not required by the Passive House standard, but it is the easiest way to meet energy goals in both hot and cool climates.

In Passive Houses you don’t need the biggest or the best heating system to get bang for your buck. While there are many options available, a humble heat pump is an efficient choice. You won’t need to run it for very long as once you have heat in your Passive Home, it’s not going anywhere! This is thanks to the insulation and thermal bridges. Insulation comes in countless forms – from batts to your concrete slab, the choice of material and depth will depend on the local climate. It’s also important to plan around avoiding thermal bridges. All these factors go hand-in-hand to maximising energy efficiency year-round.

To read more about Passive Housing go to [link to new Passive Housing page on MAXRaft site]

How does MAXRaft® fit into Passive Housing?

We have the only fully insulated concrete slab on the New Zealand market. As insulation is a key factor in Passive Homes, we’ve got you covered from the ground up. Not only are our concrete slab foundations fully insulated and compatible with TC1 and TC2 grounds, they’re also compatible with underfloor heating and offer polished concrete flooring as a modern finish.

Other benefits of MAXRaft® concrete slab foundations include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Engineered specifically for your section
  • Sustainable
  • Maximum energy efficiency
  • Thermal break insulation
  • Cost savings
  • HOMESTAR™ rating
  • Home comfort
  • Excellent aesthetics
  • Seismic strength
  • Manufactured by a Kiwi company.


To get in touch about a fully insulated concrete slab foundation for your Passive Home project call us today on 0800 629 7238

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